WHEELING - Parkersburg South and Steubenville are neck and neck heading into today's final rounds at the 60th annual Ron Mauck OVAC Wrestling Tournament.
With championship semifinal matches beginning at noon at WesBanco Arena, the three-time defending champion Patriots hold a 163.5-155.5 lead against Big Red. After the second day last year, South led Big Red by seven points.
The Patriots have nine competitors in the semifinals and Steubenville has seven.
Wheeling Park’s Dallas Baciak battles Barnesville’s Austin Singleton in a 113-pound quarterfinal Friday night at WesBanco arena. Baciak won by major decision, 10-2, to advance to today’s semifinals, which begin at noon.
''We're really proud of what the boys have done so far,'' South coach Donna Dixon said. ''It's looking positive for us.''
South and Big Red will not face each other in a semifinal match, leaving the possibility of three championship showdowns.
The finals begin at 6:30 p.m.
Wheeling Park is third in the team standings with 127 points, while Beaver Local (99.5) and University (86.5) round out the top five. John Marshall (86), Brooke (82), Cambridge (81), Shadyside (74.5) and Morgantown (74) complete the top 10.
The Patriots held a five-point lead after Day 1. South won 13 of its 14 matches by pin and the bonus points that were accrued continued to aid in its lead as both teams had solid days Friday.
South sent two No. 6 seeds into the championship semifinals, while Steubenville sent two No. 5s, a No. 6 and one unseeded entrant - Brandon Jones at 182 pounds - into the semis.
Magnolia's Alex Newman (285) is the other unseeded semifinalist.
All of the top seeds haven't lost. Also, just four of the 14 weight classes (120, 126, 195 and 220) have the top four seeds alive for championships.
Five No. 6 seeds made it to the semifinals, including Park's Danny Colby at 152. He is joined by six teammates in the semis.
''I think all of them have a chance,'' Park coach Jack Doyle said. ''I think if we get guys that wrestle hard and give themselves a chance to win late in matches, I'll be happy.''
As for Colby advancing, Doyle wasn't surprised.
''Maybe from an outside standpoint it's a mild upset, but we came in expecting him to win. He wrestled very smart (against Cambridge's Dillon Sunnafrank). He won 1-0, but a win is a win.''
''We couldn't have asked more from our guys.''
Registration begins at 7:15 a.m.
The clinic will be led by Branden Lee Hinkle, National Champion NCAA Wrestler, US National Freestyle All-American and MMA participant. The clinicians will teach the basic fundamentals of wrestling and help build the kids' self-esteem. The clinic is free and open to boys and girls ages 5-13.
Parents are required to have insurance and be present the day of the clinics to sign a waiver form.